We’re all guilty of it, in everyday speech and in our writing. Circumlocution is one of those points where language and cultural norms cross.
In fact, circumlocution means talking around something.
We dance around saying something, using a whole phrase instead of that one word that says the same thing, for fear of coming across as too harsh and abrupt.
Sometimes, we do it thinking that it makes us sound more intelligent or better educated when it actually does the opposite. Too many words can clutter your prose and cloud your meaning.
In regards to instead of about or regarding.
Be authorized to instead of may.
Be able to instead of can.
And the list goes on. Each of these, taken individually, doesn’t seem that bad, but imagine a whole paragraph or chapter or book like that. Studies have shown that people who use simple straightforward language are actually seen as more intelligent and credible.
However, for every rule there is an exception. Sometimes, the longer version better serves your purposes. For example, it might work better for the rhythm of a particular passage, or it might suite the dialogue of a certain character.
It’s just best to be sparing in your usage and default to simple, concise wording.
Rebecca has a passion for helping you fill the world with great literature and making sure said literature doesn't get passed over for the lack of a little editing.